What To Do When ... An Employee Complains of Bullying

Published on 30/08/2021


Workplace bullying has no place in the modern world. In fact, it never has had, but these days, we have no excuse for any slight suggestion that an employee is feeling bullied, harassed, or belittled by anyone else in the workplace. 

Every single business needs a zero tolerance approach to bullying. When it comes to problem solving in the workplace, bullying is a situation which requires a swift and strong response. Leaving such a problem to fester will only lead to a deteriorating situation, low morale, and of course, a very negative experience for the person involved. 

Check out this infographic which gives a little more information on workplace bullying as a whole. 

Source - https://careerbright.com/career-self-help/how-common-is-workplace-bullying-infographic

As a manager, however, what do you do if someone comes to you and complains that they’re being bullied?

  • Be approachable for all employees - Firstly, you need to have an open door policy so that any employee feels able to approach you as a manager. Don’t just sit at your executive office desk and never interact with your employees!
  • Maintain confidentiality - Of course, if someone approaches you in such a way, you must maintain confidentiality at all times. 
  • Make notes and ascertain the facts - Make notes as the person is talking and explain what you’re doing. Make sure you note down the facts carefully and accurately.
  • Keep emotions out of it - It’s easy to become emotional in such a situation but you must stick to facts and keep your emotions out of the situation, as a manager. 
  • Discuss with the accused employee(s) - Once you have the facts, you need to repeat the process with the employee who has been accused of bullying. Again, do not allow your emotions to interfere and make sure that you don’t accuse until all facts have been ascertained and proven. 
  • Follow the workplace bullying policy - Your workplace should have (or needs) a workplace bullying policy, to guide you through the rest of the process. This includes coming up with a plan of action to resolve the issue. It often comes down to conflict resolution in the workplace, but often bullying is more personal and may lead to disciplinary action. 
  • Support the employee throughout - Be sure to support the employee throughout the process and offer confidential counselling if necessary. 

Dealing with workplace bullying is never pleasant and never something any manager wants to do. However, it has to be dealt with carefully, sensitively, and quickly. 

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